Yamaha YDP-181 Review

Yamaha YDP-181 Review
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Yamaha YDP-181 has an average rating of 4.33 out of 5 based on 3 user reviews.
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Sweetwater $1699.99
KraftMusic $1699.99
GuitarCenter $1699.99

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The Yamaha Arius YDP-181 is a masterpiece that combines the richness of a grand piano with the sophisticated aspects of modern synthesizers. Packed with powerful features such as advanced wave memory dynamic stereo sampling and variable touch sensitivity, it blows away the rivals with its superior performance at an affordable price.

Graded Hammer Keyboard

In a close resemblance of a traditional acoustic piano, the new Arius provides a realistic key touch experience on the higher and lower notes. The graded hammer keyboard requires a heavier touch on the lower notes and a lighter touch on the higher notes, providing a uniform keyboard experience regardless of whether you are using this piano for practice or performance.

Adaptable Touch Sensitivity

The YDP-181 provides a variable touch sensitivity option using the dedicated front panel button. One can choose hard, medium, or soft settings to match the finger strength and preference. There is an option to turn off the sensitivity too. It also allows for sustaining the sound for a variable length of time depending on how far a damper pedal is pressed. The piano features two additional pedals, which help to deliver sostenuto and soft effects.

Advanced Wave Memory (AWM) Dynamic Stereo Sampling

With the AWM dynamic stereo sampling feature, one can create samples by recording an instrument sound, and apply digital filtering technology to the recorded sound to create superb acoustic effects, ranging from the softest pianissimo to the strongest fortissimo. The YDP-181 can provide the same richness of a grand piano with the damper resonance samples, helping to enrich the tones produced in pedaling. The damper creates sound waveforms that closely resemble the complex sounds of a grand piano, giving a realistic piano playing experience.

Song Recorder

A unique feature of YDP-181 is that it allows one to record a song and then perform solo or spotlight two additional times, with the ability to change the tempo and voices even after the recording. This can prove to be a valuable and fun experience for those who are preparing for their solo or group performance. It also features a USB storage option to save the performances, which can be quite handy. There are 50 preset classic piano songs that can serve as a reference for those who take piano lessons. These are classic marvels, and one can even listen in to enjoy the music or relax after an evening dinner.

128 note Polyphony

The YDP-181 allows one to play 128 notes at once, which can be quite handy for playing legato passages. The piano provides several special musical effects such as reverb, brilliance, dual, and split, allowing one to dazzle the audience with a superior music performance. It also includes a built in metronome, which can be quite handy for practice and play.


The YDP-181 includes several tuning controls, allowing one to change tempo, transpose, scale while playing the music. It also features a 7 segment LED display, giving a luxurious visual effect to the digital piano, as well as midi, headphone, and USB to device terminals.

Amplifier and Cabinet

The YDP-181 is powered with two 20W powerful speakers that are conveniently positioned. While the speakers are only 16 cm in diameter, they produce a marvelous sound that resembles real acoustic instruments. It comes with a gorgeous looking cabinet that contains a sliding key cover with a headphone hanger.


In essence, you will be extremely enthused with the Yamaha YDP-181 digital piano that can cater to everyone’s needs at home. The piano is easy to assemble and carry. With its ease of use and superb sound effects, Yamaha has once again scored a hit in its line of digital pianos.

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  1. James Myers  - November 29, 2014 - 8:24 am

    The keyboard itself is similar to other Yamaha digital pianos such as P105 or YDP161. You’re paying extra for the nice cabinet and bench. The build quality is much higher than other pianos in the Yamaha’s YDP line. Very nice sound and great piece of furniture especially if you don’t have enough space for an upright piano.

  2. Paul  - January 31, 2015 - 4:53 pm

    I bought this for my brother a few months ago and it is a good piano. It took us an hour or so to set it up initially but it has been sturdy through several different room set ups over the last six months and we’ve never noticed a change in the sound quality. This was an upgrade form a real basic keyboard that he used on the kitchen table. So he’s been happy with it.

  3. atticmom  - January 31, 2015 - 4:57 pm

    I tried this keyboard at the local music store and while it sounded good and I believe it would be a great set up for someone who is a hobbyist or a beginning student I would not recommend it for an advanced player. I’ve taken lessons for over 13 years and have played many different brands of piano and keyboard. I found this keyboard to be too bright in tone and the feel was not piano-like at all. However, like I said I am used to a richer more piano-like sound and feel but for those who are getting started or don’t mind this the ARIUS would be a good choice.

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